surgery vs radiation/chemo

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I haven't posted much but read all the posts religiously. My husband (age 61) was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in September 2011. The primary was his right tonsil (SCC HPV+) so he had his tonsils removed followed by 35 rads and 2 chemo treaments (cisplastin sp??). He was level 3 with some spread to lymph nodes. The doctors (ENT/Radiologist and oncologist) all agreed on this treatment method rather than surgery. They said surgery could always be done later if needed. He completed all of his treatment in December and seems to be doing ok. PEG tube has been removed and he can eat most everything although it does take him quite a while. First pet scan came back clean and he is scheduled for another next week. I have read about so many people having surgery done first followed by radiology and dhemo. Now I am second guessing our decision. I know we can't go back and I understand that. Am just hoping that others may be able to comment that they had the same treatment plan as him and are doing fine. I am a worrier by nature and I am so afraid (of course I do not let him know this - he's got enough to deal with). So can anyone help? Has anyone had a similar treatment plan and been cancer free for awhile?

Comments

  • Grandmax4
    Grandmax4 Member Posts: 723
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    Your Husband
    and I are pretty much running neck to neck ( pun intended ) in time frame..I had surgery in November 2011 and epiglottis was removed, no chemo or radiation needed. I am secure that my Surgeon knew and knows what i need.

    I decided that if there was a way to remove this evil mass from my person, that's what I wanted.

    No regrets for me and no looking back!! Peace
  • Grandmax4
    Grandmax4 Member Posts: 723
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    Your Husband
    and I are pretty much running neck to neck ( pun intended ) in time frame..I had surgery in November 2011 and epiglottis was removed, no chemo or radiation needed. I am secure that my Surgeon knew and knows what i need.

    I decided that if there was a way to remove this evil mass from my person, that's what I wanted.

    No regrets for me and no looking back!! Peace
  • longtermsurvivor
    longtermsurvivor Member Posts: 1,842 Member
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    no need to second guess
    his treatment was the standard accepted one. The radicality of surgery as the sole treatment modality when the primary is tonsil is generally more than what he needed to go through. His treatment is identical to many who post on this board. The treatment team, surprisingly, generally makes the best recommendation possible. lucky for us!


    best


    Pat
  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
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    Identical Dx and Tx....
    Her name was Lola.....(my ex-wive), and she is an ex that lives in Texas as well....

    For the most part I had the same Dx and Tx... other than I had a little more chemo it sounds.

    I had STGIII SCC Right Tonsil and a lymphnode on the same side. Tonsils were removed, but the tumor was not...

    Due to the location of the tumor and carotoid, surgery was left as a last alternative at a later date.

    After the nine week (three week cycles) of Cisplatin, Taxotere and 5FU, I had an additional seven weeks of weekly Carboplatin concurrent with the 35 daulys rads.

    The tumor actually disappeared during the first nine weeks...never showed up again.

    I didn't have the PEG...

    I have regained 100% of taste and around 95% of saliva back.

    All scans have been clean and clear since finishing Tx in Jun of 2009, Dx was January 2009.

    As Pat said, many of us have had a very similar treatment plan, and doing well.

    Relax, why even think about woulda, shoulda..... Your first scan was clean, more than likely this one will be also.

    What you are suffering from is "scanxiety".... the anxiety associated with your upcoming scan and results.

    That's an entirly different topic, and many of us have a hard time getting our heads around that one unfortunately.

    Best,
    John
  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,723 Member
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    choices
    lola5071,

    I opted for the tongue and neck surgery followed by a zap (35 time) of radiation and just a taste of Erbitux (8 times), and I feel great. My ENT thought he got all the cancer and gave me the choice of rads and chemo in addition to the surgery. As he explained it, he could not guarantee he got everything and that there might be some residual lurking (my word) behind. In which case, I would have to go through rads and chemo anyway. With such an offer, I was in and bought my bus ticket the same day, yippy.

    Gotta love this place.

    Best,

    Matt
  • Tim6003
    Tim6003 Member Posts: 1,514 Member
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    CivilMatt said:

    choices
    lola5071,

    I opted for the tongue and neck surgery followed by a zap (35 time) of radiation and just a taste of Erbitux (8 times), and I feel great. My ENT thought he got all the cancer and gave me the choice of rads and chemo in addition to the surgery. As he explained it, he could not guarantee he got everything and that there might be some residual lurking (my word) behind. In which case, I would have to go through rads and chemo anyway. With such an offer, I was in and bought my bus ticket the same day, yippy.

    Gotta love this place.

    Best,

    Matt

    Hi Lola ..
    I did not have surgery or cistalin (sp) ...I only had radiatoin and Erbitux for my treatments :) and I got a clear post PET /CT scan 3 mo after tx.

    I was just like you are now ...2nd guessing no surgery or platinum chemo ..but my scan and 3 scopes / monthly visits all show good

    Best,

    Tim
  • Tonsil Dad
    Tonsil Dad Member Posts: 488
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    Tim6003 said:

    Hi Lola ..
    I did not have surgery or cistalin (sp) ...I only had radiatoin and Erbitux for my treatments :) and I got a clear post PET /CT scan 3 mo after tx.

    I was just like you are now ...2nd guessing no surgery or platinum chemo ..but my scan and 3 scopes / monthly visits all show good

    Best,

    Tim

    Hi!
    Hi Lola, I myself had this dilema back in November, Surgery, Chemo, Radiation
    it was all new to me and overwhelming. After long and thoughtful deliberation
    I eventually chose Just Radiation (33) treatments which didn't start until March 1st
    this year ( nearly 4 months) since diagnosed. I go for my first PET in a week so we
    will see if the treatment worked.
    God be with you and guide you in your decision.

    God bless
    Tonsil dad,

    Dan.